BY PETE SINGER, Editor-in-Chief
The ConFab — an executive conference now in its 13th year — brings together influential executives from all parts of the semiconductor supply chain for three days of thought-provoking talks and panel discussions, networking events and select, pre-arranged breakout business meetings.
Why the time is now: Electronics are an essential part of everyday life the world over. Smartphones, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, digital television, autonomous cars, advances in healthcare and so much more are possible only because of the advances in semiconductor technology over the last 50 years.
Although some say the industry is maturing, but the reality is that the industry will see explosive growth from a variety of applications, including the IoT, 5G telecommunication, autonomous driving, virtual and augmented reality, and artificial intelligence/deep learning. IoT alone is expected to drive not only a huge demand for sensors, but a far more sophisticated cloud computing infrastructure that will employ the most advanced logic and memory chips available, including 7 and 5nm logic devices and 3D NAND.
These new and varied applications, including healthcare, are creating new demands for semiconductor technology. Devices will require more innovative packaging solutions, including heterogeneous integration of diverse components. New advances in MEMS and sensors, will be required as well as new wireless capabilities, thin film batteries and energy harvesting devices, flexible electronics, power electronics, analog, and silicon photonics.
What can you expect in 2017? The ConFab 2017 conference program is designed to identify new opportunities in these fast-growing markets, showcase critical technology trends and discuss what challenges still need to be overcome. On Monday, we’ll hear where mainstream semiconductor technology is today through the keynote talk and the morning session. We will soon be announcing who these speakers will be, but past speakers include Brian Krzanich of Intel, Tom Caulfield of GlobalFoundries, Yoon Woon Lee of Samsung, Bill Chen of Nvidia, Roawen Chen of Qualcomm, Ali Sebt of Renesas and Wally Rhines of Mentor Graphics. Also on Monday, we’ll have a sure-to-be interesting panel session focused on heterogeneous integration and advanced packaging, starting with a talk from Jan Vardaman of TechSearch. Siemen’s Sia Langrudi is also slated to speak on Smart Manufacturing in the semiconductor industry, which will encompass the Industry 4.0 initiative, also known as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
On Tuesday, we’ll kick things off with a look at the growth opportunities in the automotive market, particularly the autonomous, self-driving car. We’ll follow that up with talks on MEMS and sensors by Kevin Shaw of Algorithmic Intuition and J.C. Eloy of Yole Developpement, and then a panel session that looks at the coming opportunities and changes in a range of diverse markets, including MEMS & Sensors, power electronics, biomedical, LEDs, displays and more. Panelists will include Laura Rothman Mauer of Veeco, David Butler of SPTS and Mike Rosa of Applied Materials.
On Wednesday, we’ll hear from Alissa Fitzgerald (A.M. Fitzgerald & Associates), followed by a talk on flexible electronics by Jason March, the director of technology at NextFlex. We’ll conclude with a market overview from Bill McClean of IC Insights, who is sure to give us an idea of what coming years will bring, the impact of industry consoli- dation and new growth opportunities.
The ConFab also includes well-attended evening recep- tions plus breakfasts, lunches and refreshment breaks. These offer exceptional networking opportunities for people to meet in a relaxed environment conducive to making lasting connections.
What is clear is that the need for real collaboration has never been greater. That’s why The ConFab 2017 is invaluable. In 2017, we are extending personal invitations to even more VIPs, and we expect heightened interest and involvement as industry leaders gather to tackle tough questions, take a look at the new growth opportunities and challenges, network in a unique environment and collaborate on the future. Check out our website at www. theconfab.com to see how you can participate.